What Would You Add To This Train-the-Trainer Boot Camp?

Boot Camp

If you had the freedom to do whatever you wanted and to use any means necessary in order to train someone on how to design and deliver effective learning experiences, what would you do? What would you include in your program? What would you have your lucky pupil do?

What if you only had a month? Would that change things for you?

Over the next month, I’ll have an opportunity to conduct a sort of Train-the-Trainer Boot Camp for a new training colleague in my organization.

I’ll be able to work with him intensively over that period of time and I intend to make sure he has a solid foundation upon which to build. There’s only so much we can squeeze into a month’s worth of foundation building. We’ll walk through a series of webinars on various training basics. He’ll have several work products he’ll be asked to create based upon his key learnings.

As for “outside” reading and activities, I’m planning to assign the following:

  1. Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach. I was introduced to Jane Vella’s book on “dialogue education” years ago and have used it as a cornerstone for my instructional design. It’s really more about adult learning than instructional design, but I prioritize the ability to create an engaging learning experience over technical instructional design skills, thus this choice.
  2. Make It Stick. Peter C. Brown’s book offers several essential pieces of brain science that can and should be built into every training intervention ever designed. After all, the point of training is for people to do something new or differently or better, right? Why not read a book about research-based practices?
  3. Participation in a tweet chat. Staying abreast of the latest industry trends and sorting through fad from effective practice is an essential element for getting started in the training profession. So is having a grasp on what leading training practitioners and thought leaders have to say. This colleague is in India so I’m thinking #chat2lrn might work best in terms of time zone accessibility.
  4. A membership in ATD. Again, having exposure to the wide range of training trends and thought leaders as well as being part of a professional association/community is an essential building block in becoming a training professional.

What sorts of “outside” resources am I missing? If you had a blank slate and could design a month-long boot camp, what books, articles, activities, groups or associations would you recommend for someone as they begin their career as a training professional?

16 thoughts on “What Would You Add To This Train-the-Trainer Boot Camp?

  1. I’ve found Will Thalheimer’s work indispensable on my journey to support effective learning activities. By the way, Brian, will you be willing to share through your blog how you actually carry out your TOT boot camp? It would be fascinating (and immensely useful) to know how you synthesize such vast resources for the benefit of your new colleague.

    • Thanks Mark. YES! How could I forget Will Thalheimer’s work?!

      I’m absolutely willing to share how this program is actually executed. Great suggestion.

      I think a lot of the resources suggested/crowdsourced here will go into a resource document for my new colleague. I’m happy to share to program outline and do several posts on how the program actually runs (vs. how I envisioned it running) and lessons learned.

  2. Love the fun responses on this Brian! Two books that I like for trying to apply to adult learning:
    1)”Brain Rules” – John Medina. I think that the majority of the rules apply to how we conduct (or ought to conduct) our classes. Might take some focused questions adn conversations to get there.
    2) “How we Learn” – Benedict Carey. I am just finishing this one up and I love how it dispells some of the things that we thought we knew about learning and gives insight on how best to reach learners.

    Great to “see” you every week Brian. Keep up the thought-provoking work!

    • Yeah, the responses are GREAT!

      I’m a big fan of Medina/Brain Rules. Medina definitely discusses the science… AND what’s simply worked for him (ie: even though he lectures, he’s found a formula where he changes things up every 10 minutes to hold the audience’s interest).

      “How We Learn” sounds interesting – I haven’t read it (yet). “Make It Stick” also goes into the science and dispels some of those things we *thought* were true (ie: going back to re-read highlighted portions of a text actually doesn’t help with retention!).

      Thanks for “dropping by” with your comments/contributions, Scott!

      • I feel like Priscilla just read “Make it Stick.” I suppose that that now is next on my list. Happy Thursday Brian!

  3. In addition to what you have I would reccomend subscribing to the following websites which offer good articles and free webinars.


  4. I love the “The Artist’s Way At Work” by Bryan, Cameron and Allen. While we continue to review learning strategies and methods sometimes the best ways to teach is to be creative and open-minded. This book (12 weeks to creative freedom) has been my go-to when it’s time to change it up. And it can just be fun!

    • Skye – I’m not familiar with “The Artist’s Way At Work” (but I’ve been looking for my next good read, so I’ll have to add this to the list!). You’re absolutely right, creativity is an essential building block for people in L&D and, while some people may be more naturally inclined towards creativity than others, I think it’s a sort of muscle that can be developed. Love the suggestion. Thanks!

  5. I would include accelerated learning concepts that include reflection, visualization, facilitation techniques and learner readiness. I participated in the ATD certificate program and found it very engaging.

    • Ooooo, accelerated learning! I haven’t thought too much about that specific concept in a while. Any specific resources (books, articles, etc) you’d recommend when it comes to accelerated learning (beyond the ATD certificate program)?

      • Here are a few from the program:
        the creative trainer: holistic facilitation skills for accelerated learning by M. Lawlor and P. Handley
        The accelerated learning handbook by D. Meier
        Accelerated learning for the 21st century by C. Rose.

  6. Crowd-sourcing development/design is a good idea, James! I’m sure you will collect lots of things for participants to read.
    Since training, or, learning and performance, is all about demonstrating, exhibiting, and acting, the most important part of a training boot camp would be teach backs of whatever principles are discussed. These brief (5-10 minuts) teachbacks should be both in person and in a distance learning modality to illustrate how to handle the subjects in those environments.

    • Yes on teachbacks! Though this person is located in India (and I’m in Seattle), we plan to have him lead several webinars based on what he’s learned about putting together effective, participatory webinars AND covering key lessons learned through his course of study!

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